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Ukraine's Balakliya resident reports being tortured with electricity in Russian captivity

Artem, a resident of Ukrainian city Balakliya, Kharkiv region, told BBC Russian Service in an interview that he had spent 40 days as a prisoner of the Russian troops and had been tortured with electricity.

According to Artem, he heard screams of pain and terror from nearby cells. He claims that the Russian soldiers turned off a noisy ventilation system in the local police department. “They turned it off so that everyone could hear people screaming while they were being tortured with electricity,” Artem says. “Some prisoners [were tortured] every other day. They even tortured women.”

Talking about the torture, he added: “They made me take two wires into my hands. There was an electric generator there. The faster it spun, the more powerful the voltage. They said: ‘If you let go of the wires, we’ll kill you.’ Then, they started asking questions. They then said that I was lying — and the generator spun faster, and the voltage increased.”

The Russian soldiers detained the Balakliya resident after finding Artem’s picture of his brother — a Ukraine’s Armed Forces soldier — in a military uniform. Another resident of the city, according to Artem, was arrested for 25 days because a Ukrainian flag had been found at his place.

Tatiana, principal of a local school, spent three days in the police department. She says that she also heard screams from other cells. BBC Russian service inspected one of the cells and found the text of Lord’s prayer written on the wall and tally marks counting the days of capture.

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Ukraine’s Armed Forces liberated Balakliya on 8 September. Head of the Kharkiv region Oleh Sinegubov said that the main goal as of now was to restore water and electricity supply into the region’s settlements. However, there are concerns that power lines could be mined.

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